“Thank you, Maxi Dresses, for helping me appear dressed up, as though I really made an effort, but making me feel as if I’m wearing a nightgown in public. You are basically crotchless yoga pants, and I salute you.” –excerpt from “For the Love” By Jen Hatmaker
I feel like nothing would better prepare you for Jen’s book than the quote above. If you don’t find that statement funny, or if for some strange reason you find it offensive, just stop now. You don’t need to buy this book. If however, you find it laugh-out-loud funny (as I did), then keep reading.
I highly recommend making the decision to follow Jen on Facebook or Twitter. She regularly shares funny anecdotes from the escapades of the Hatmaker family (they have five children, two of which have been adopted from Ethiopia). Her latest book, “For the Love” was just released in early August and has hit the number two spot on the New York Time’s best seller list.
Reading “For the Love” was a bit like chatting with a girlfriend or older sister. She has a very casual, down- to-earth approach for sharing her thoughts on love, religion, and overalls. Yes, overalls. This book felt as if I took a peek into Jen Hatmaker’s brain. You will end one chapter talking about God and the next discussing why leggings are not pants. I can see how some people would love her back-and-forth, while others could find this choppy or annoying. I personally enjoyed it.
Jen’s husband pastors a church in my hometown of Austin, TX and she has been a regular on the Christian speaking circuit for years. I love the flavor of Christianity that Jen brings to the table. It is about holding someone’s hand in the trenches, not judging them from our perfect Sunday outfit in a pew. It is about living the verse, “love your neighbor as yourself” and building a sense of community within our neighborhoods and cities. It is about spreading love. Jen does this with her honest words and insight to what women are really struggling with. We ARE fighting for grace in a world of impossible standards as the cover implies. The book echoed the sentiments I have heard from close friends over and over again. The judgement we have on ourselves and others is suffocating us. We are piling more than ever on our plates to achieve this unobtainable Pinterest-perfect life. We keep thinking that somehow, everyone else is living life flawlessly and we are the only ones fighting to keep up. The truth is that most of us are struggling.
I’d like to think that Jen’s honesty and openness about her life can encourage us to do the same with our own friends and family. Maybe as Jen says we can, “lay down our fear and criticism, self-directed and otherwise” and adopt the thought that “love is really the most excellent way.” What if one by one we became determined to leave the judgement and insane pressure behind us and choose to love one another instead? It could be amazing. Jump on the bandwagon with Jen and the rest of us. Let’s start spreading some love, being real with each other, and leave the judging and impossible standards in the dust behind us. Buy the book and carve out some time in your schedule for reading.
We are giving away a copy (hardcover or digital) to one of our awesome readers! Answer this: Do you feel as though you are constantly trying to do to much and trying to live up to impossible standards? Is there something you could cut out of your life or hand off to another that would help lighten the pressures? Your answer in the comments below will count as your entry! One winner will be randomly selected and notified on Friday, September 11th!